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Does Mahachi deserve another term in office
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
January 15, 2013

The incumbent town clerk of Harare city council, Tendai Mahachi's contract is due to expire next month. This is despite the fact that council is honoring up some of his contractual obligations which include the purchase of a top of the range vehicle. However, the question on board is that should he be given another lease of his professional life?

Recent media reports in the state run newspaper, the Herald have reported that the town-clerk has reportedly assumed the duties of the director of waste management, Mr Dombo Chibanda. Mr Dombo Chibanda was briefly dismissed in December sighting lack of satisfactory performance. This came against a background of uncollected refuse, sprouting of garbage dumps in communities and the general poor sanitation conditions in the central business district zone. The town-clerk is said to have roped in the services of the Zimbabwe National Army (Z.N.A) to assist in the collection of refuse. The question is "where was the town clerk during the tenure of his office when things were deteriorating at an alarming rate?

In 2008, the Minister of local government rural and urban development, Dr I. Chombo managed to push for the change of status of mayor's from executive to ceremonial. This then meant that the time that is spend by these actors (Mayors) attending to the affairs of cities is quite minimal which then goes on to give ample time and mandate incognito to town clerks to exercise some of the duties that were being done by mayors. In short, the state of affairs at town house should not be the problem of councilors, but is as a result of the chief of staff and his directors.

In 2008, we witnessed the worst ever Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe and Harare being one of the worse hit because of the poor sanitary conditions and water challenges at prevalence then. This was followed by a series of reports of typhoid which were largely felt in Mabvuku-Tafara and Dzivarasekwa. Water problems persisted with residents from the aforementioned areas being sent bills in United States dollars yet they had not received any water since 2006. Some of the bills have accumulated to about $5000 due to the interest being charged per month and this has inspired the local authority to attach people's property.

Housing provision is as good as non-existent with many people now 6 years old on the housing waiting list. Stands are now being distributed at the mercy of bogus land developers who are benefiting from corrupt speculation and hording of council land whilst the majority of the poor are not able to benefit anything from that arrangement because of the land-prices being charged.

To date, Harare in general does not have water. Water has become one rare commodity with some suburbs especially the southern suburbs going for months without water only for it to return at mid-night for about 2 hours only. Failure to raise enough revenue has seen the city go for a year losing 50% of treated water and this has raised concerns on the city's ability to curb diarrheal disease like typhoid and cholera. How the City is planning on arresting the water problem remains a mystery save for the Kunzvi dam mantra which is taking forever to finalize.

It is against this background that the town clerk seems to be playing petty politics when he is ignoring the real issues that need his urgent intervention. Whilst we appreciate that the issue of refuse collection remains a cause for concern, we reiterate that refuse collection has improved in general from the state it was in 2008 and it really cannot be the most urgent of matters that need interventions. We urge the town clerk to intervene on the issue of water and ensure that lasting solutions are realized in order for us to arrest these diseases that continue to haunt us as a City.

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